Everything about the contemporary is panda (Bethan Huws)


Michal Martychowiec






75 x 100 cm



chromogenic print



1 of 3 + 1



on request

Everything about the contemporary is panda (Bethan Huws)

This cycle of photographs consists of stills from a film which has never been made (or as it might be read by history - has been lost). One statement of the artist is mixed with statements from historic artists: Marcel Duchamp, Bethan Huws, Kazimir Malevich, Francisco Goya... The stuffed panda from the museum functions as symbols of death, or failure (of preserving its own species, of being preserved as a work of art, of the meaning of artists’ words being preserved...).


In all works of the series Everything about the contemporary is panda, the panda avatar encounters themes and objects from our cultural history. We meet the Shroud of Turin, a wanderer above the sea of fog, the obligatory banana appears and the Italian classic artist Piero Manzoni, is set into the wall as a grave slab. In a series of conceptual photographs, we see the famous Berlin panda Bao Bao (currently displayed in the natural history museum) in combination with enigmatic text fragments. These fragments originate from contemporary and historic artists (Bethan Huws, Kazimir Malevich, Francisco de Goya, Joseph Beuys, and others) and are used by Martychowiec as symbolic signifiers for certain (art) historical tendencies.

In Martychowiec’s work the panda is an unmasking symbol of decadence at the centre of a modernity that has long become empty. The panda stands for the last man at the end of history, bound between neoliberal normativity and the decoupling from his own historical-cultural becoming. As a pop cultural symbol, it is omnipresent and can also be interpreted as a medium of Chinese ‘soft-power’ politics. Pandas found their biological niche through a genetic mutation in the spine, which allowed them to sit comfortably. Bamboo, their primary food source, is poor in nutrients and must be eaten 16 hours a day. The species, which is already extinct in the wild, a museums piece, mostly lives in so-called panda villas. There they are looked after by guards and psychologists. The majority of reproductions occur through artificial insemination.

Weitere Werke der Ausstellung

Name Has Marcel Duchamp changed the world?
Größe 259 × 220 cm
Jahr 2014

Name the historic level
Größe 23 × 127 cm
Jahr 2017

Name Everything about the contemporary is panda: Piero Manzoni 1961
Größe 47 x 37 x 3 cm
Jahr 2016

Name After Wanderer above the Sea of Fog
Größe 47,5 x 43,5 cm
Jahr 2020

Name The incredulity of Saint Thomas: Limited by history
Größe 15 × 21 cm (exkl. zerbrochenen Isolierglasscheiben)
Jahr 2020

Name Everything about the contemporary is panda (Bethan Huws)
Größe75 × 100 cm
Jahr 2017

Name Shred of Turin
Größe 29 x 44 x 47 cm
Jahr 2018

Name Everything about the contemporary is panda (Francisco Goya)
Größe 75 x 100 cm
Jahr 2017

Name Everything about the contemporary is panda (Kazimir Malevich)
Größe75 ×100 cm
Jahr 2017

Name Everything about the contemporary is panda
Größe 40 x 60 cm
Jahr 2016

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